WORLD FUTURE FUND
NEMESIS OF THE TECHNOLOGICAL WORLD
THE REALITY OF EMP ATTACKS
BY MAN OR NATURE
In 1859 America was hit by an EMP (ELECTRO-MAGNETIC PULSE) attack from the sun. We survived because we had little technology to lose. Today such an attack would be devastating beyond belief. Society would literally shut down.
Today, nuclear weapons can be reconfigured to be EMP weapons. They are harder to shoot down than regular nuclear weapons. They also need very little accuracy since they can cover wide areas by exploding in the upper atmosphere. Meanwhile, modern defense contractors like Boeing are working on non-nuclear EMP weapons.
There are two types of EMP attacks: one is natural and one is man made. Now the man-made attack is based on a reconfiguration of a nuclear device to be an EMP device, which would damage only electronics, leaving buildings, people and so on intact. But the main point is that a gigantic electromagnetic pulse would have a far greater range than a conventional nuclear weapon. If you exploded a powerful EMP bomb directly above the center of the United States, you could knock out most of the country's electronic grid. It's very important to understand that this would knock things out for years - not weeks. The conventional concepts of the disaster recovery do not apply to an EMP attack.
Particularly threatening is the possibility of an enemy state placing a weapon on a satellite with a southern trajectory over the US. US ABM and warning systems are all aimed north due to the legacy of the Cold War. Here is a map of what could happen.
SOLAR FLARES: A WEAPON OF NATURE
Though there is no doubt that earth has been experiencing sporadic solar flares since the beginning of time, the first-known and largest recorded instance occurred in 1859. A massive burst of solar wind and magnetic energy was released into space, and sent hurling directly toward earth. Starting on August 28, 1859, the solar storm continued to impact earth until September 3rd of the same year. The events were recorded by an English astronomer named Richard C. Carrington. Days before and during the time that the solar carnage was unleashed, sunspots and flares were visible on the sun. On September 1st, the largest flare was recorded, an eruption that sent detrimental solar winds and magnetic energy through the atmosphere and straight down to earth. The journey for these types of energies usually takes about three to four days to complete, but depending on the frequency and severity of the occurrence, primary solar flares can pave the way for stronger ones to follow soon after. During this solar flare, telecommunications were dramatically impacted. Telegraph systems in Europe and North America were affected, sometimes even to the extent of literally shocking the telegraph operators.
The problem is that there is no historical presidence for what an EMP attack from the sun could unleash upon an electronic society, since our history as a wired society is very brief; Which makes us even more unprepared for what is to come.
This year, in April, NASA documented the largest solar flare of 2013. This is a reminder to us all that the threat is still very real and if anything, more intense given our current damaged atmosphere and epidemic of global warming.
Also, not to mention that two years ago, a solar storm just barely missed the Earth: The solar storm of 2012 that almost sent us back to a post-apocalyptic Stone Age (Extreme Tech, 7-24-14)
NON-NUCLEAR ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE AS A MAN MADE WEAPON
In 2012 an event occurred under the control of the military defense contractor Boeing that may unleash a revolution in warfare of absolute staggering dimensions. The Boeing Corporation developed a quite effective, nonnuclear EMP.
The EMP nonnuclear weapon is a device that can completely turn the tables on a technologically empowered empire. Therefore, it is completely absurd and quite ironic that America is the first nation to develop such a weapon. It is said that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Likewise, by creating a weapon that damages electronics, America is undercutting its own military power around the globe. When EMPs are introduced on the world stage as a weapon of modern warfare, other countries WILL eventually get their hands on such a device. This is what happened with nuclear weapons, chemical warfare and cyber warfare. This too will happen in the realm of EMP warfare. Such a device will enable third world nations to actually have a fighting advantage over the United States, because they are not as dependent on the electronic grid for their survival.
Even though this "E-bomb" is not a nuclear warfare, it is definitely deadly in a number of ways. It is designed to disable electronics systems on a widespread scale - which would, in fact, be lethal to most nations. It is a composition of microwaves that are directed to wipe out electronics at a specific location. Such an attack in the wrong hands would wreak havoc, and would take those effected back into the 19th century - an era that most people would not be able to survive in without necessary preparation and skill development. The Boeing company has mastered the creation of these non-nuclear weapons, claiming that their invention "marks a new era day in modern-day warfare."
THE GOVERNMENT'S COMPLETE LACK OF PREPARATION
Instead of being skeptical and worrying about where, when or if an attack will occur, Americans need to focus on preparation, as the chances for an attack are always increasing. We may believe that we are capable of monitoring the actions of other armed countries, but no form of technology can properly predict the will of nature - in the case of an EMP attack from the sun.
The United States Government as well as the entire structure of our society is completely unprepared for an EMP attack. There is no official back up plan in place.
We need to start devising a plan that will at least keep the lights on in this country if such an event were to occur. A solar flare has the capability of completely wiping out the power grid for any given area for several years. With a nation that is heavily dependent on technology, there is no debate that we would be crippled in a number of ways. The government needs to provide surge protectors and power grid-saving devices to citizens, that would at the very least serve as a temporary back-up in case of a solar emergency. A small number of members from The House of Representatives have relaunched efforts to protect the nation from what they say is a very real threat of a solar storm happening. However, the push for real Congressional Action remains an uphill battle (National Journal).
A DEVASTATNG COST: DESTROYING THE ECONOMY AND LIVES
This is not the kind of disaster that would be remedied after a few weeks. This is something that could shut down entire sectors of the U.S. economy for years. The following would be destroyed: Electronic banking systems, security devices, surgical machinery, life support systems, the Wall Street Stock Exchange and the whole gamut of our technology dependent world would be devastated. Not to mention that millions of lives could be lost from the economic and electronic fall out.
The clean up of Hurricane Katrina costed 125 billion. A low level hurricane (category 3) in New York wrecked 80 billion in damages. Yet these disasters are peanuts in comparison to what the fall out of an EMP attack would cost - which would be trillions of dollars in damages. Now we already have a society that is so screwed up internally and so bitterly divided that it can't even figure out how to pay its own bills and is borrowing a third of its own budget. Would this society really be able to survive after adding trillions of dollars of financial pressure to the cost? We think not. This would lead to massive tax increases, huge budget cuts, and political and economic turmoil. This could bring down the entire structure of the United States.
As an article in Forbes eloquently stated, an EMP attack would make 9/11 look trivial.
AFTER THE EMP COMES THE NUCLEAR MELTDOWN
If the prospect mentioned above is not horrifying enough, there is an even worse reality to consider. What happens to the world's 450 nuclear reactors?
After the electronic grid is shut down by an EMP blast, the nuclear plant operators will try to safely shut down the nuclear reactors with whatever backup power that they have available to them. Following that, they will need to keep the nuclear rods cool - even when they are not running in the reactor process. The problem though is that the radioactivity cannot be shut down with the flip of a switch. The cool down process normally takes months if not years to complete, yet such a process would not be available in the event of an EMP blast like the one that happened in 1859.
So could there be more than 450 Chernobyls? It's very possible.
RELEVANT NEWS STORIES
NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS: The Very Real Possibility of A Global Nuclear Catastrophe (Global Research, 3-25-12)
THE U.S. CONGRESSIONAL EMP COMMISSION
The U.S. Congressional EMP Commission was established to assess the dangers of EMP attacks in the U.S. and is also responsible for analyzing all outcomes and forms of preparation. It was enacted by public law pursuant to title XIV of the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001. For more information on the duties of this commission, read their homepage below.
The EMP Commission released a report that details important infrastructures of the country ranging from power grids, to aircrafts, food, and agricultural systems, etc. and discusses how these systems would be affected in the event of an electromagnetic pulse disaster. The vulnerability of each of these key systems is weighed out and analyzed. It also offers various proposals for how to assess these issues in a state of emergency. Read the report below.
A VISION OF THE WORLD'S CITIES GONE DARK
In our modern world of electronic conveniences, what would life be like without electricity? The picture above is a vision of San Francisco gone dark. If America doesn't develop an emergency plan to deal with the possibility of an EMP attack, the picture above could very well be a vision of the future to come.
For more pictures of the world's major cities gone dark, check out the following creative photo series.
Bills and Government Action
SHIELD Act to Protect from Solar Catastrophes, Electromagnetic Pulses (Fox News, 6-18-13)
Electromagnetic Pulse Caucus Battles Skeptics in Push to Protect the Planet (The Nuclear Threat Initiative, 3-12-13)
Natural EMPs & Solar Flares
Extreme space weather threatens to leave the U.S. in the dark (Washington Post, 8-9-14)
The solar storm of 2012 that almost sent us back to a post-apocalyptic Stone Age (Extreme Tech, 7-24-14)
Catastrophic Solar Storm Inevitable, Insurers Warn (Wall Street Journal, 2-26-14)
Lloyd's of London: DC to New York Could Lose Power for 2 Years After EMP Attack (The Daily PR, 6-18-13)
1 in 8 Chance of Catastrophic Solar Megastorm by 2020 (Wired, 2-29-12)
Non-nuclear EMPs & Boeing
E-Bomb: The Real Doomsday Weapon (Russia and India Report, 4-26-13)
How Boeing's Non-Lethal CHAMP Missiles Could Mark a 'New Era in Modern-Day Warfare' (National Post, 1-12-13)
Lights Out: Boeing Creates the First Working EMP Bomb (Vr-Zone, 12-4-12)
New Boeing Missile Disables Computers (Vr-Zone, 10-25-12)
National EMP Preparation
Is U.S. Prepared for EMP Attack? (Fox News, 12-13-11)
Before The Lights Go Out: A Survey of EMP Preparedness Reveals Significant Shortfalls (The Heritage Foundation, 8-15-11)
Effects of EMP
Electromagnetic Pulse a Real Threat (The Washington Times, 12-15-11)
Could An Electromagnetic Pulse Send Us Back to the Dark Ages? (io9, 10-07-11)